The Pan-African Parliament (PAP) has sent messages of solidarity and support to the people of Malawi following the unrelenting Tropical Cyclone Freddy that hit the country on Sunday, bringing the death toll to 225 people.
Addressing the Pan-African Parliament plenary, Hon. Steven Mikaya, Malawi Member of Parliament bemoaned the havoc caused by Cyclone Freddy, which has ravaged Malawi, Madagascar and Mozambique to unprecedented levels of distraction. "All this, Mr President, is coming at a time when Malawi was starting to show signs of recovery from the deadly COVID-19 pandemic that also came hard on the heels of Cyclone Ana and Cyclone Gombe that left a similar trail of devastation and destruction in Malawi," said Hon. Mikaya.
In his message of solidarity and expression of heartfelt condolences, PAP President H.E Chief Fortune Charumbira called for urgent and long-lasting climate-smart solutions across Africa. "We call on African Union to vigorously pursue the enforcement of climate justice and ensure the full representation, inclusion and protection of the lives of the Africans, who are the most vulnerable to the effects of climate change. Undeniably, climate change has made cyclones more intense to significant damages to ecosystem and infrastructure," said the President.
The Pan-African Parliament has conveyed its solidarity to Malawian President H.E Lazarus Chakwera and called for international and continental ways of recovery for the region. This week Malawi's president appealed for global support to tackle "a national tragedy" after Cyclone Freddy pummelled the country, causing flooding and mudslides that have killed hundreds.
Cyclone Freddy has poured heavy rains equivalent to rain for six months in six days, with strong winds collapsing bridges and water systems, making roads impassable, and crippling the power supply in the country. According to the World Meteorological Organization, Cyclone Freddy is the longest-lasting tropical cyclone (34 days) after Hurricane Jones of 1994 (31). In this adversity, more than 20 000 people have been left homeless and displaced leading to the government declaring a State of Disaster.
The storm returned to the African coast at the weekend for a second time in less than three weeks, leaving a trail of death and destruction, but it had largely spared Malawi the first time around.
Rescuers scrambled to reach survivors in southern parts of Malawi, mostly around the commercial capital of Blantyre, after Freddy smashed into the country and neighbouring Mozambique, triggering floods and landslides that have killed nearly 290 people in both countries.
In Mozambique, the storm led to 63 deaths and displaced 49,000 people according to official statistics.